The Arden Story

1960s: The house in Bredbury where it all began.
1960s: Die-makers at work in the first Arden factory.
1960s: Arden founder Frank Poynter at the office.

The Arden Brand

The Arden name was inspired by the noble Arden Family of Bredbury - wealthy landowners whose estate encompassed the Poynter brother's family home where their journey began.

Former RAF man Frank, had served in the Path Finders Force (PFF) of the Lancaster Bombers, and with a nod to his military heritage, incorporated the PFF Eagle emblem into the new Arden company logo, which is still used today.

1970s: Hard at work at the Arden factory
1970s: One of the early Arden Dies brochures
1970s: Frank was interviewed in The Cutter and Creaser magazine in 1975

During the 1980s, Arden continued to expand and a partnership with German company and now co-owner Marbach - a leading giant in the packaging sector - soon followed. It was a move which enabled Arden to further invest in state-of-the art technology cementing their position as a leader in the field.

In 1985, the company moved into a purpose built factory unit in Marple, where they remain today. The new site was officially opened to huge fanfare by the then Vice Chancellor of Salford University - Professor John Ashworth.

As the use of automated packaging machines grew, the demand for more accuracy in box production increased which couldn't be met from the traditional methods of die-making - and Arden continued to invest in new Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology.

Martin soon spotted a gap in the market for specialist packaging software for die-makers and enlisted the help of a couple of colleagues from the 'back office' to begin producing their own CAD/CAM software.

Before long the bespoke software - then known as IPD (Interactive Packaging Design) - was garnering interest across the sector and in 1988 Arden Software was born.

1990s: One of the first promotional brochures for Arden Engraving
1990s: The new purpose-built Engraving factory in Marple
1990s: Hand engraving in the early days
1990s: A selection of embossing and foil stamping dies produced in brass, magnesium and composite resins

As a leading supplier of cutting and creasing dies and CAD software to the packaging and greetings card industry, the new on-site Engraving division was a natural next step for the Arden Group.

The welcome addition of Arden Engraving provided a one-stop shop for customers, enabling them to incorporate emboss or hot foil stamping to their cutting and creasing package.

As well as offering conventional etching, hand engraving and Bakelite duplication services, Arden Engraving invested heavily in the future by installing the latest, cutting-edge, 3D CNC engraving and milling machinery, backed up by our wealth of CAD knowledge from our sister company - Arden Software.

Speaking shortly after the launch of the Engraving division, MD Martin Poynter said: "Arden Engraving will position itself to be the most innovative and efficient engraving house of its kind."

2010 and beyond: The latest laser engraving technology
2010 and beyond: We've invested in the latest laser engraving technology
2010 and beyond: A selection of high precision 3D sculptured embossing and foil stamping die
2010 and beyond: Arden Engraving has expanded into the label market

Now, more than half a century since the Poynter brothers first set to work in their mother’s cellar, The Arden group of companies employs 165 people around the world and has an annual turnover of £11 million, through our Dies, Engraving and Software divisions.

For Arden Engraving, we’re now a leading manufacturer of complex tools and dies for the carton and label sector.

With a global workforce of 30 people, and operations around the world including Germany and the USA; we are proud to work with some of the largest producers in the packaging and label sectors, who know they’re in safe hands with Arden Engraving.


Two brothers, one saw and a workbench in the cellar of their family home marked the humble beginnings of the Arden journey.

In 1964 the Poynter brothers - Frank and Philip, along with their friend George Snowball, set up shop in the cellar of their mother's semi-detached house in Bredbury, Stockport.

Philip and George would clock off from a day's work making dies at a local printing firm and head straight for the cellar where they'd continue their craft.

Salesman Frank would sell the dies and secure the orders and within a matter of months the ambitious trio had the makings of a lucrative business.

Just four months later in February 1965, they'd outgrown their 10ft square underground workspace, and moved into their first official headquarters in Marple, and Arden Dies - the first of the Arden companies - was born.

The Arden Brand: The Arden logo was inspired by Frank's military heritage and the emblem of his regiment, while the name was a nod to a local noble family.

During the early days, dies were made in the traditional way of drawing the shapes directly onto plywood before cutting them out with a jigsaw.

But Frank was a modern man with a vision to remain at the forefront of technological innovations and pushed for investment in new laser technology.

During an interview with Cutter and Creaser magazine in 1975, Frank was quoted as saying: "Old-fashioned dyed-in-the-wool attitudes towards die-making have got to go. Laser cut dies are definitely here to stay. I've had a hard time convincing my customers, but once they've seen the results they won't have anything else."

It was a bold move from Frank, but it was the right move for Arden, who were one of the first to adopt such cutting-edge laser technology.

In 1978, Frank's son Martin joined the ranks, and with a background in mechanical engineering, continued to drive the company forward.

1980s: The grand opening of Arden's purpose built factory in Marple
1980s: The Arden site under construction
1980s: One of the first IPD promotional brochures for Arden Software

During the 1990s the Dies and Software divisions of the Arden brand continued to grow, increasing our customer base and investing in new and advanced technology.

But the Arden group of companies didn't stop there, in 1999 we branched out into the embossing sector.

The Engraving arm of the organisation was formed following a chance meeting between MD Martin and a senior employee at our then embossing plate supplier. The pair decided to join forces and launched Arden Engraving.

A 400sqm purpose-built factory was constructed at the company headquarters in Marple, which is still the centre of the Engraving division today.

Early 2000s: High speed, large format CNC engraving machines and machining centre
Early 2000s: Cigarette embossing with Creasing Plate technology
Early 2000s: Magnesium chemical etching
Early 2000s: Plate-making reproduction with composite materials
2010and beyond

A continued desire to invest in the future of the business, Arden Engraving built on its portfolio of machinery to include new CNC engraving centres to increase its capacity to become the largest facility of its type in the UK.

With the Arden Group keen to continue its global expansion, in partnership with Marbach GmbH, we launched an engraving production facility in Charlotte, NC, USA in July 2012, which has gone from strength to strength. This plant has been so successful plans are currently underway to develop and further expand the operation.

In 2015 we introduced a laser engraving facility capable of producing the finest detail engraving where CNC or the chemical etching process cannot provide the necessary depth to achieve perfect reversed out results as well as incredibly small text and other delicate detail - it was ideal for the label industry which was to be the next route of our expansion.

Thanks to the success of the USA division, we set our sights on the European market, launching Arden Engraving Germany in 2018, investing in new state-of-the-art CNC machines, which further extends our reach into markets within mainland Europe.

In 2018, Arden Engraving expanded into the label market.

After supplying embossing and hot foil stamping tools to the carton industry for two decades, Arden's engraving division began making its mark on the label market, offering advanced rotary and flatbed tooling solutions to some of the largest label manufacturers in the world.

We invested heavily in the latest CNC engraving machinery and advanced laser technologies to provide highly precise foil stamping tooling to help ensure our customers are making the right impression.

Today: Arden Engraving Team